Action-Manager is a framework for defining, invoking, organizing, and integrating action handlers.

Visit Action-Manager for more information.


yarn add action-manager
npm install action-manager


Create an action

const printTime: Action = {
  handler: () => console.log(new Date().toISOString())

Invoke an action (without context)

await invoke(printTime)

Invoke an action with context and type parameters. The context, all context properties, and all type parameters are optional.

const printTime: Action<void, {
  type: string
}, {
  timeZone: 'EST'
}> = {
  handler: () => console.log(new Date().toISOString())

await invoke(printTime,
    // These are the targets of the action
    targets: [],
    // These are the action parameters
    params: {type: 'log'},
    // This is the environment
    env: {timeZone: 'EST'}


  • Eliminate boilerplate code
  • Increase reusability
  • Streamline testing
  • Access a rich ecosystem of shared libraries
  • Extendable framework via plugins


  • Plugin based system for confirmation dialogs
  • Generate user interfaces
  • Dynamic labels support
  • Fully asynchronous
  • Action pipelines
  • No dependencies
  • Plugin based lifecycle

Creating Actions

The only required property in the Action interface is the handler. Handlers accept a single optional argument: the context.

const printTime: Action = {
  handler: () => console.log(new Date().toISOString())

The power of action-manager emerges as you begin to implement the optional properties.

const printTime: Action = {
  id: 'print_time',
  name: 'Print Time',
  description: 'Print the current time, in ISO format, to the console.'
  log: true,
  handler: () => console.log(new Date().toISOString())

The action can now be used to generate user interface items, such as buttons and menu items.

Action Type Parameters

Although it is not required to type the targets, params, and environment, it is foolish not to. 😉


Parameter Information Default
TARGET The action target type any
PARAMS The action params type any
ENVIRONMENT The action environment type any

These parameter types can be set to a specific type, any, or void.

Invoking Actions

There are many advantages to invoking an action instead of directly calling its handler.

  • Undo / Redo support
  • Display confirmation
  • Action chaining
  • Error handling
  • Unified sync/async
  • Easier debugging
  • Cardinality checking
  • Parameter checking
  • Default environment

[todo show examples]

Action Widgets

There are several types of action widgets. These widgets are implemented using several libraries.

  • Buttons
  • Menu Items
  • Spreadsheets
  • External API

Action Context

A context object is provided to the action handler as it's only parameter. The context is also provided to MaybeRef properties.

The action context triages properties into three buckets.

  1. Targets
  2. Parameters
  3. Environment


Targets are the objects an action is to be performed on. Because actions indicate the cardinality of the targets they perform on, targets can be used not only for the handler, but for calculating user interface state. For instance, a delete action can work on 1 or more targets, while a compare action can require exactly two targets. In contrast, an open file action would not require any targets.


Parameters are properties that indicate on how the action should go about acting on the targets for a particular invocation.


The environment are common properties that typically remain the same for multiple actions.

Action Registry


  • Enumerate actions
  • Invoke actions using an ID
  • Group actions





The asRef helper function allows the developer to treat action properties as if it were a Ref, regardless of how they are implemented. This function also takes into consideration if the action property returns a function, and if it already returns a Ref.

By only working with Refs, the developer can treat all properties as dynamically computed values.

For example, this example will work in any combination of or action.nameRef being implemented.

  <button>{{asRef(action, 'name')}}</button>

To use asRef, you must initialize the system with your framework one time, before calling the utility method.

Init example:

import {ref, unref, computed} from 'vue'
import {init} from 'action-manager'

// Init action-manager with your framework
init({ref, unref, computed})
import {asRef} from 'action-manager'

// Implement name or nameRef
action: Action = {
  nameRef: ()=> new Date().toString(),
  handler() {

action2: Action = {
  name: 'hello',
  handler() {

// Get the Refs
const name1Ref =  asRef(action1, 'name')
const name2Ref =  asRef(action2, 'name')


asValue is the same as asRef, but will return a non-reactive value. This will call any computed functions and unwrap any refs.

const name =  asValue(action, 'name')


The invoke lifecycle includes several hooks that can be tapped. These are useful for logging or plugin development.

import {hooks} from 'action-manager'
// Called when an action is invoked, but not yet validated
hooks.actionWasInvoked.tap((action, context) => {

// Called when an action is validated, but not yet executed
hooks.actionWillExecute.tap((action, context) => {

// Called after an action is executed
hooks.actionDidExecute.tap((action, context, retValue) => {


  • [x] Make Vue dependency optional
  • [x] Create driver for reactivity
  • [x] Organize for various UI frameworks
  • [x] Add hooks
  • [ ] Create driver for prompts
  • [ ] Create driver for errors
  • [ ] Create driver for logging


yarn test


yarn build

Refactoring Example

Here is an example of how you might refactor your code to use action-manager.

Your existing code is hardwired to call a function:

function logMessage(message) {
<button onclick="logMessage('hello')">Log A Message</button>

Migrating to an invokable handler

We start by wrapping the function in an action handler, and typing it. We then call invoke on the action:

const logMessage: Action<void, {
  message: string
}> = {
<button onclick="invoke(logMessage, {params: {message:'hello'}})">Log A Message</button>

With this in place, and not really using much more code, we have enabled all sorts of additional functionality.

Adding targets to log

We start with defining an environment that will be sent into every action.

// We now make our action typed, and also allow it to log targets.
const logMessage: Action<any, {
  message: string
}> = {
  handler(context) {
    if (context.targets && context.targets.length > 0) {
      for (let target of context.targets) {

Great, now our action can be used to log not just a message, but user selected items as well.

Creating an environment

We can define an environment that will be sent into every action.

const env = {
  // We could redirect to a file, use console.warn, do nothing, or whatever
  log: (...args: any[]) => console.log(...args),
  // A custom formatter for strings
  format: (item: T) => {
    if (typeof item === 'string') {
      return item.toLowerCase()
    } else {
      return item

// This is a quick way to create a type from an existing object.
// You can create the type explicity if you desire.
type ENV = typeof env

// We now add the ENV type to our action, and use it
const logMessage: Action<any, {
  message: string
}, ENV> = {
  handler(context) {
    if (context.targets) {
      for (let target of context.targets) {

This environment can be used in other projects. It can also be replaced by some mock when testing.

Add UI hints

The extensibility of this design is now showing. We can add even more properties to enable all sorts of additional features.

const logMessage: Action<any, {
  message: string
}> = {
  id: 'logMessage',
  name: 'Log Message',
  description: 'Logs a message and/or action targets',
  debug: true,
  log: true,
  confirm: {
    message: 'Log it? Really?'
  cardinality: 'any',
  onError: ['prompt', 'log'],
  status: {
    message: 'Logging...'
  usage: true,

  handler(context) {
    // ...

Because we registered our action, it can now be invoked by 'ID' instead of the object. This will reduce dependencies.

Widgets such as buttons, menu items, and search results can now use the action as meta-data to generate content.

The invoker can check cardinality to ensure the action is compatible with the context.

Our runtime can log and debug information when the action is invoked.

We have instructed the runtime:

  • confirm with the user before invoking the action
  • to present the user with any errors that occur, and also log them
  • show a status bar with a message
  • collect usage data

So ALL OF THIS comes for free by just using actions instead of functions...

Dynamic Properties

The benefits do not stop here. Most action properties support a propnameRef alternative that can dynamically calculate and reactively update the value.